DID YOU READ

Scott Aukerman Talks Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 2 and His “Rivalry” with Zach Galifianakis

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By T Sahara Meer

Well, Christmas in July! At least that’s how we’re feeling today, on the eve of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s return to IFC tomorrow at 10/9c. And like Santa in his workshop, creator/host Scott Aukerman has been carefully crafting Season 2 for the enjoyment of boys and girls all over the world — and the best part is, he doesn’t give a damn who’s naughty or nice. Incredibly, we were able to catch up with the uber-busy Aukerman — actually, it wasn’t that hard, he’s been on a media blitzkrieg all week. But before you get your chance to ask him all sorts of ridiculous questions yourself during his Twitter Q & A tomorrow at 9:30 PM ET/ 6:30 PM PT, we wanted a crack at him first. So read on, Bang! Bang! fans, and then just one more sleep until the big day…

What new things can viewers look forward to seeing on Season 2 of Comedy Bang! Bang!?

You know when IFC came to us and said you can make new episodes, that was the first thing we decided to do — to make them new. We decided not to just rerun the old ones. Practically, every frame is new this year. Although, sometimes we did get a little lazy and were like, “Let’s just throw some of the old frames in there.” But practically every word that we say is new. And when I say that, I mean we’re creating new words on the show this year. We decided not to be lazy and use any word that we used last year. So if you hear us use a word that we used last year — if you catch us because we slip up — then you can win 80 brand new Hyundais. Some contests only give away one car, we’re giving away 80. Pretty exciting.

Is it revealing too much to tell us some of the new words that you’ve created for Season 2?

Well, we use “flanderfoodle” once. You see, once we use a new word, we can’t use it the rest of the season. So something like “farfenoogle” — which we were so excited about when we came up with it — because when you hear it, it just so accurately reflected what was going on. It’s like when you come up with a word like “Kleenex.” And it’s like, “Yes! I’m going to blow my nose into a ‘Kleenex’ — of course I am!” It just fits, you know. So when we came up with that word that we came up with, we were like, “Oh, this is so perfect for what is happening right now.” But, then, we can’t use it again. So when we felt that way again, we had to come up with something new like “brackenbrickle” — and it just wasn’t the same.

If you had to pick just one, what would your favorite moment be from Season 1?

I really like the final episode, the green screen episode. That’s one where we got a little bit crazier and had a huge concept for the show. I think that in Season 2, we’re going to be doing a lot more stuff like that. Just the fact that we were able to do 20 episodes, we were able to stretch out and really tackle some bigger ideas this year. And also some weightier topics. In the conversations this year, some really heavy stuff comes up. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I’ll let the viewers decide. They can sound off on their Twitter and leave their comments below.

How has your relationship with Reggie Watts evolved in your time working together on the show?

I think it’s deepened. I think that the emotional exercises that we do before taping the show where we sit and face each other and touch knees — it goes without saying that we take off all of our clothes before we do this — and we gaze into each other’s eyes and we tell each other what we appreciate about each other. You can’t do that with a person without feeling closer to them. It’s much like in Cat’s Cradle, touching feet. We don’t go that far because feet are disgusting. But it’s been this thing where we have developed a real friendship, not just a TV friendship. In Season 2, you can tell in the first couple of episodes, it’s still just TV friendship. But then there’s this moment in Season 2, when it’s like boom!, all of a sudden: real friendship — and I hope that viewers can tell exactly when that is.

The new promos for Season 2 feature the tagline “the ultimate comedy fantasy” with you as a centaur and Reggie riding your back. Has that been a fantasy of yours?

Well, that’s not fantasy. That’s reality. We had to shoot that for the poster. I had to remove my glamour which prevents human beings from seeing me as a centaur and reveal my true self to the world. But Reggie and I have gotten close enough where he felt comfortable getting on my back. So it’s not really a fantasy at all. My fantasy is to appear as a human. That’s why I purchased that expensive glamour from a witch. So I’m living out my fantasy every day, but the reality is that I’m just a dirty, gross centaur.

Prior to Comedy Bang! Bang!, you were more of a behind-the-scenes guy (writing, producing). How has your life changed since becoming a TV star?

Yeah, I hated being in the scenes. I wanted to stay behind them. But there are all sorts of perks you get as a celebrity. There’s a celebrity internet, that only celebrities are allowed on. You have to type in wingdings. It’s a little bit harder, but it’s so exclusive. Oh, and the other issue with it is when you log on, it’s dial up. So it’s a pain in the ass, really, but the exclusivity of it just feels so damn good. And, you know, having every human on earth recognize me when I go out on the street can be a little distracting. Especially for them, because any city I travel in, work stops. Everyone puts down their protractors and their jackhammers — I think I just covered both ends of the job spectrum with those two items. [Laughs] But, really, they just sit and stare at me, mouths agape. I’m into it. So if you see me on the street, don’t try to talk to me, just sit and stare, slack jawed, at me. That’s what I really appreciate. And bow. Do one of those Japanese, full bows to the waist, not just one of those tiny head nods. Have your mouth agape and bow to the waist and I will now that you are a true Comedy Bang! Bang! fan.

You created another talk show, “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis. Is there any kind of rivalry between you and Zach about who’s a better host?

I think that Zach would concede that I’m a far better host than he. What he gets in return is that he is incredibly rich and a movie star. So, we all have our specialties in life: His is being a movie star and being one of the richest men on earth, and I get to be the better host. Hey! I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

You have quite an impressive array of celebrities coming up on the show — Jessica Alba, Sarah Silverman, Jason Schwartzman. How did you select your guests?

They’re very lucky when they are selected. We have a randomizer. It’s kind of a computer-generated number randomizer. We put every celebrity that exists into the computer and we assign them a number. George Clooney! Hey, you’re number 3,487, for instance. Then we mix them all up. You never know who’s going to pop out of that randomizer, but whatever number we pick, we just slot them right into the show. We were lucky this year, quite frankly, because there were some really D, E and F celebrities in that thing. But we got so lucky with who the computer picked this year. You can’t imagine the celebration that went on in the office when Jessica Alba’s name come up. It was like, “Oh! Oh my god. Thank goodness! It could have been Snooki.”

As a writer, producer, podcaster, you seem to have worked with every comedian in Hollywood. Is there any comic you don’t know but would like to meet?

I would love to have Chris Elliot on the show. I emailed with him once. His stuff on Late Night With David Letterman and his work in Cabin Boy and his books have all been great influences on me. We’ve tried to have him on the show both seasons and it didn’t work out. I would love to have him, and I say that in utter sincerity. Last year, someone asked me a similar question and I said “Pee Wee Herman” and it came true. So, I’m just going to put it out there: Chris Elliot, come on the show!

Comedy Bang! Bang! returns to IFC on Friday, July 12 at 10/9c

Want the latest news from Comedy Bang! Bang!? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@comedybangbang and use the hashtag #cbbtv.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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